Minister Vandenbroucke wants to give all residents of residential care centers a third vaccination. He is also hammering on his new hobbyhorse: ventilation obligation. ‘If you really want to get rid of mouth masks, you will have to ventilate.’
If it is up to Federal Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit), everyone in residential care centers will receive a third shot against the corona virus. He hopes to find consensus on this with his colleagues from the regions next week. According to Vandenbroucke, there is a very good chance that they will come to that decision. He argues that there is sufficient scientific advice to underline the usefulness of a third vaccination for the very elderly and vulnerable who received their first vaccination some time ago. That’s what he said in The seventh day on VRT. Such a new round of vaccinations is also relatively easy to organize in residential care centres. He does not yet have an answer about what should happen to people over 80 who live at home. He does not consider a third round of vaccinations necessary for the general elderly population, ‘there are currently no indications that indicate the need to re-vaccinate all over-65s’.
The minister also says that it is ‘an obvious duty’ that healthcare personnel are vaccinated to protect their patients. He is thinking of staff in hospitals and residential care centers, but also of general practitioners and physiotherapists. Vandenbroucke promises to work on a legislative initiative as soon as possible. All hospitals and residential care centers are also invited to publicly publish the vaccination coverage of their staff. That should put pressure on you.
The minister is also in favor of asking visitors to residential care centers, but also hospitals, to present a Covid Safe Ticket, in order to protect residents and patients. He himself does not want to impose any obligation to do so. He believes that the federal states should decide on this.
More power to federal states
Those states will again gain more power. ‘We are entering a phase in which we have to put responsibility back where it normally lies, with the federal states,’ said Vandenbroucke. ‘We have transferred many powers to the federal level for a year and a half, and we cannot continue to do that.’ The situations in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia are so different that a differentiated policy is necessary.
Vandenbroucke says that he only agreed to returning powers to the federal states, because he received the political promise that Wallonia and Brussels (unlike Flanders) will not yet abolish the mouth mask requirement in the catering industry and shops (given the lower vaccination rate in Belgium). those regions).
Get the virus out of the air
‘The time of non-committal ventilation is over’, Vandenbroucke announced his new hobbyhorse. Face masks and ventilation obligation are interchangeable. Ventilation is a more sustainable alternative. If we want to get rid of the mouth masks, we have to get the virus out of the air.’ Therefore, restaurants, cafes, discotheques, party halls, fitness centers and other indoor sports infrastructure will be subject to regulations that must guarantee the air quality, which can be done with ventilation or purification. The obligation will not come overnight, there will be a transition period with a certain tolerance. But after that period, there will be checks and anyone who does not comply risks having to close their business. Vandenbroucke also hints at such a ventilation obligation in education, but has to rely on competent minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) for this, who has not yet commented on this.
According to the federal minister of Health, this ventilation will also be a valuable weapon in the fight against the upcoming flu season. “We risk a severe flu season, the absence of flu last year (thanks to the mouth mask obligation, ed.) causes reduced immunity this year.’
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